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Final score: Storm 65 – Sting 59 (W) (3-1)

Attendance | 3927 (WTF?!)

Anthem Xtra Notes | Zero

Anthem High Note | Not a problem

Anthem Style | Traditional

Fan Noise | Loud enough to let them know we were there

Signs | Not so many

Fan Psyche | Is this really happening?

Halftime | Little girls playing hoops

10:19 on the clock in the second half. The Storm are down by 7 points (it may have been 9). Adia Barnes rips down a defensive rebound and fights off three Sting players for control. The Storm charge up the court and score a bucket. I turn to Angie and say, "Here we go." Just like the end of the Lynx game the other night, all of the sudden the Storm are playing with energy, aggression and spirit. In the next two minutes, the Storm stop the Sting cold and take the lead. They don't relinquish it for the rest of the game.

And this was against the defending Eastern Conference champions - against a team who has already beaten the Sparks and the Comets.

The shots that weren't falling in the first half started falling. The fouls that were all going the Sting's way started going our way. The Storm became the confident team who was efficiently executing their offense and the Sting looked confused and unsure of what to do or who to go to. For the last few minutes, it was the Storm who were finding a way to answer the Sting and it was the Storm who were finding ways to force the Sting off balance.

The game started out U.G.L.Y. The first four or five Storm possessions, not counting a steal and fastbreak layup, were straight out of last year. Pass the whole shot clock and take a bad long range shot with one or two defenders draped all over the shooter. For the Sting, they were able to consistently get easy layups under the basket. I'm not sure who was missing their assignment, but how many times does it take for Tammy Sutton-Brown to find her self unguarded two feet away from the basket until someone gets their butt put back on the bench? The Storm were able to keep the Sting from running away with the game in the first half, but everything seemed easy for the Sting and way too hard for the Storm.

The first half of the second half continued the story. The Sting were slowly pulling away from the Storm. Their largest lead was only 9, but in such a low scoring game that could have been enough. Actually, let me go a little farther with that - last year, a 9 point lead with 12 or 10 minutes left in the game would have been enough.

Not this year. Maybe it is Sue Bird and her never-say-die tenacity. Maybe it's Adia Barnes' hard core defense and rebounding. Maybe it's Felicia Ragland, who hasn't been able to reproduce her preseason scoring but is still throwing herself and her body into the fray and on the floor without fear. Maybe it is Kamila Vodickova who is finally healthy and is starting to assert her dominance under the basket. Maybe it is Jamie Redd who is finally getting some playing time and wants to make sure Coach and everyone knows she can score. Of course, it is all of these things. Each one is supporting and feeding off the energy of the other. Sue is the focus and the emerging leader of this team, but it is definitely a team and a much improved one at that.

Time for the SPoG - Stormfans Player of the Game. Alas, I wish that I could pick only one, but I can't. Tonight's SPoG has to be shared by Jamie Redd and Adia Barnes. Jamie for scoring 13 points in 13 minutes of playing time and doing it when it was needed most. Adia was 1 for 11 from the field and, between her and Sue (4-13), helped account for the team's dreadful 35.5% shooting. But in my opinion, she was the spark that ignited the rally at 10:19 on the clock. She played smothering defense on anyone and everyone, regardless of size or position (it was somewhat comical to see her trying to keep Summer Erb out of the paint). Jamie and Adia, this SPoG is for you.

Notes:

Lauren was listed on the scoreboard as being in the starting line up. The team typically leaves the floor for a few mins after their warmups and then comes back for a final shoot around and ball drills leading up to the anthem and the tip. Lauren was out on the floor and active during the warmups. She did not return with the rest of the team for the final shoot around until just before the anthem. The crowd gave her a relieved cheer when she did emerge. But, she is then introduced as a nonstarter and sits on the bench for the entire game. What happened? Did she reinjure herself during the warmups and require additional treatment - hence the short disappearance and bench time? A couple fans who sit down by the bench report that she looked fairly pissed during the game. Hopefully, whatever it was will be short-lived and she will be in the game on Sunday against Mt. Dydek.

The attendance. What can I say? We have two of the best basketball players on the planet on our team and unless the place is packed full of girl scouts or basketball teams, the Seattle public can only muster 4000? There was an article by Nancy Leiberman in which she used the "R" word and Seattle in the same sentence - that's right - RELOCATION. Not to get all dramatic and alarmist, but a/ how long is the league going to let two of its future marquee players languish in a market that refuses to support them, and b/ what is it going to take to get the lame ass Seattle fans into the Key? You can't get any more name power than Sue Bird. It's only a 32 game season and we're now sitting at 3-1. That's the equivalent of the Sonics being 8-2 or 8-3 at the same point in the NBA season. This town would be going nuts if the Sonics started out with an 8-2 record.

Takeisha Lewis is actually hurt, but expects to back and available after 3 games. Angie, SasseSue and Stormrocks all talked to her for awhile before the game and got some interesting tidbits. She approved her nickname, but prefers to be "Little Big Dog." When asked what kind of dog she would be, she said something mean like a pit bull. Sue said that she seems more like a Labrador off the court. Takeisha said that she is a Labrador on the bench and a Pit Bull on the court. She is looking forward to playing against Rhonda Mapp and some of the other bruisers around the league. She wants to make sure that everyone realizes that she is one of only a couple of draftees left on active rosters from the third and fourth rounds of the draft. More to come later...

The halftime was a couple of little girl teams playing a short game. It seemed that the ref was definitely in training to join the WNBA ranks because he refused to call anything and even let one little girl get slammed to the floor with no foul called.

Michelle Marciniak's mom was in the family section and got some quality face time with one of the owners of the Sonics & Storm. Maybe she was trying to find out if her little girl really tripped over her own feet during practice.

One of the more unbelievable calls of the night - Sonja was called for an offensive foul for knocking Summer Erb to the floor. Sure, whatever you say ref. By the way, I've got a coupon for LensCrafters. How's about you and I go shopping for some new contacts?